Curtis v. USA - 2255
MEMORANDUM OPINION. Signed by Judge Richard D. Bennett on 9/20/2017. (kw2s, Deputy Clerk)
IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
FOR THE DISTRICT OF l'vL-\RYLAND
UNITED STATES OF Al'vIERICA,
Civ. Action No. RDB-16-1608
Crim. Action No. RDB-13-119
On March 26, 2013, Petitioner Duane Curtis ("Petitioner" or "Curtis") pled guilty to
one count of Conspiracy to Distribute and Possess with Intent to Distribute Cocaine, in
violation of 21 U.S.c. ~ 846 and one count of Conspiracy to Commit Money Laundering, in
violation of 18 U.s.c. ~ 1956(h). (ECF No. 18.) During Petitioner's sentencing hearing, this
Court found that Petitioner's conspiracy to distribute and possess with intent to distribute
cocaine was a controlled substance offense and Petitioner's prior convictions
robbery qualified as "crimes of violence" under United States Sentencing Guideline and as a
result Petitioner was deemed a career offender. Petitioner was then sentenced to a term of
one-hundred and twenty (120) months.
Two years later, the Supreme Court in johmon v. United StateJ, _
135 S. Ct.
2551 (2015) struck down the residual clause of the Armed Career Criminal r\ct (ACCA), 18
U.S.c. ~ 924(e)(2)(B)(ii) as unconstitutionally
vague. The Office of the Federal Public
then filed a motion on behalf of Petitioner under 28 U.s.c.
arguing that because the "Career Offender"
provision in the Sentencing Guidelines includes
the identical residual clause as that struck down in Johnson, it is also void for vagueness. (ECF
In 2017, however, the Supreme Court held in Bet"kles fl. United States, _
S. Ct. 886 (2017) that the advisory
were not subject
to that decision, the OFPD infonned
Petitioner that in light of Bet"kles it would
no longer be able to represent him. On September
18, 2017, the OFPD
filed a Motion to
Withdraw as Counsel (ECF No. 32), which this Court granted. (ECF No. 33.)
tlus Court is Petitioner's
U.S.c. ~ 2255. (ECF No. 31.) The parties' submissions
have been reviewed, and no hearing
See Local Rule 105.6 (0. Md. 2016). For the reasons stated herein, Petitioner
Curtis' Motion to Correct Sentence Under 28 U.S.c. ~ 2255 (ECF No. 31) is DENIED.
only claim is that under Johnson, the residual clause that this Court applicd
is void for vagueness.
this Court must detcrmine
prior armed robbery convictions qualify as crimes of violence under the
1\s the OFPD
offenses" clause or "force" clause of U.S.S.G ~ 4B 1.2(a).
stated in its Motion to Withdraw
as Counsel, however,
Bet"kles this argument is without merit. 1\s the Bet"kles Court statcd, "[b]ecause thc advisory
are not subject to a due process vaguencss challcnge, ~ 4B 1.2(a)'s
residual clause is not void for vagucness."
137 S. Ct. at 897. For this reason, Petitioner's
pending Motion to Vacate (ECF No. 31) is DENIED.
For the reason stated above, Petitioner
Duane Curtis' Motion to Correct Sentence
Under 28 U.S.c. ~ 2255 (ECF No. 31) is DENIED.
Pursuant to Rule 11(a) of the Rules Governing
under 28 V.S.c. ~ 2255,
the court is required to issue or deny a certificate of appealability when it enters a final order
adverse to the applicant.
1\ certificate of appealability is a "jurisdictional
appeal from the court's earlier order. United State.r 1'. Hadden, 475 F.3d 652, 659 (4th Cir.
2007). A certificate of appealability may issue "only if the applicant has made a substantial
showing of the denial of a constitutional
right." 28 V.S.c. ~ 2253(c)(2). Where the court
motion on its merits, a petitioner satisfies this standard by demonstrating
find the court's
of the constitutional
or wrong. See Slack v. McDaniel, 529 U.S. 473, 484 (2000); see also Miller-EI v.
Cockrell, 537 V.S. 322, 336-38 (2003).
jurists would not find Curtis'
claims debatable, a certificate of appealability is DENIED.
A separate Order follows.
September 20, 2017
Richard D. Bennett
United States DistrictJudge
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